A Tale of Robin Hood Seen From the View of A Teen

Will in Scarlet


Will In Scarlet by Matthew Cody.  I’ve read a few good retelling of the Robin Hood saga and this is another to add to the stack. Told from the perspective of “Will Scarlet” – the incognito Shackley heir – the reader is taken on a journey of self discovery and plunged into the inception of a band of merry “men” who at first steal from the rich and finally give to the poor. It’s both a fun adventure with a modern pace, and a nice introduction to the Robin Hood lore.


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Bringing the Memories Home with The Artisan Jewish Deli

The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home with Nick Zukin and Michael Zusman. Memories of my first meal at a Jewish Deli came flooding back as I turned each page. A now long closes deli was home to my first Reuben sandwich and all the other delicacies. One of my best college roommates introduced me to Matzo Brei and Chicken Liver pate – two of my all time favorites. A Sweet Noodle Kugel was a guarded family recipe of another friend but no more since that too is represented within this delightful book.

Enjoy this wonderful mini history of some awesome delis and recipes that are making me quite hungry. This is a keeper. Go out and get your copy.


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Not Quite Under

Under A Spell by Hannah Jayne. I jumped in and read a book in the middle of a series. That’s not always a good idea but again the cover was intriguing. Decades ago I went to an all girl school with a similar plaid – albeit we did wear the buttoned up blouses and navy sweaters with the standard knee socks – although nothing suggestive in that attire.

My humble opinion is that the book was unbalanced in that it had many nice scenes and characters but felt rushed in several places and repetitive in others. As a mystery, the reveal was not satisfying. Another round of edits would’ve greatly improved things. I’ve included it since I feel the series may have a nice, loyal following – just not perhaps with as many fellow writers. I liked the premise of a paranormal agency and which is similar to a very popular book I’ve reviewed last year. I may read the next installment to see how things progress.

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Fairytale Sci-Fi

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)


Scarlet by Marissa Myer  As a huge fan of Cinder the sequel did not disappoint. There are so many quirky, whimsical bits that carried through both novels and played to the plot. Beloved cyborg mechanic Cinder escapes prison and becomes the kingdom’s most wanted criminal.

The series gives a serious nod to our favorite fairy tales and launches them into a frightful future world. This story centers around Scarlet and Wolf as they attempt to find out what really happened to Scarlet’s missing grandmother. By the time they meet Cinder, the Lunar queen will have a real threat on her hands and the reader will have a nice Segway into the third book of the series. I’m ready for the next installment, please.

This second book in the Lunar Chronicles ups the danger and hints to even greater secrets housed on the moon.  To fully enjoy the story I would suggest you start with reading Cinder first. They are both quick and enjoyable reads. Almost too quick. I think I may have to go back and reread…

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Goddess Hunt another trek into modernized mythology

The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test, #1.5)

The Goddess Hunt by Aimee Carter is a novella spanning the summer when Kate heads back to the real world. To avoid spoilers, you will definitely want to read the Goddess Test first. In this modern retelling of Greek mythology, we see the standard cast of character with some extra angst mixed in. My favorite part of the book is that this story shows another side of Henry aka modern Hades than you see in the full novels.

It’s chance to sneak behind the scenes and see him watching his wife as she reluctantly embraces her semi-annual freedom in the real world. The author’s writing is fast paced and a pleasant read.   For fans of the series, it is hard to get enough time in the story world so I would recommend reading. For someone with less time to spend, I would suggest staying with versions one and two and save 1.5 for a later date.

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What if we had a cure for love?

Delirium: The Special Edition

Delirium by Lauren Oliver immerses us in a government knows best world where love is viewed as a disease and each person takes the cure at eighteen. It’s an intriguing premise.

Lena Haloway wants to fit in, to look forward to the husband and career society will chose for her on her eighteenth birthday. Once she’s given the cure, she will no longer have to fear the threat of love the decease that caused her mother’s suicide. “I love you,” she remembers her mother’s last words.

Lena meets Alex a couple of months before she’s scheduled to be cured. He’s different. He makes her see and experience things is a new way. New isn’t good; it’s deadly.

Amazon.com posts an author one-on-one with Gayle Forman and Lauren Oliver. In it Lauren Oliver shares that the seed of the idea hit her while she was at the gym watching a news click about people panicking during the swine flu epidemic. That one spark of an idea became a page turner. The author who penned Before I Fall had delivered another best-seller here.

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A Rollercoaster Road Trip: The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson

The Miles BetweenThe miles between by Mary Pearson starts with a bang and ends with a revelation. Destiny Faraday distances herself from her classmates. She’s terrified of attachments. It’s easier to be a loner.  and to keep aching secrets at bay.That is until one day, she and three students “borrow” a car and set out on a once in a lifetime road trip.

Their goal becomes to create on fair day, a day when good guys win and things turn out the way they should. It’s an emotional trip, and weaves in a supernatural element with perhaps a heartbreaking reality behind it. This story blends genres for me. It has some of the elements I love from old-fashioned Southern Gothic stories: a boarding school, old family secrets, controlling  Yet it blends in a modern literary feel mashed with young adult.

I couldn’t resist reading on after viewing: I was seven the first time I was sent away.  Read it for yourself and enjoy the emotional roller coaster.

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The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

The Boy In the Striped Pajamas (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Random House Movie Tie-In Books)The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne was made into a movie in 2008 and it’s no wonder. This fable of an innocent nine year old boy living in 1942 Germany brings us on an emotional journey.

The boy’s family is moving to a place he’s never heard. As he tries to understand meanings to new words he hears he gets it all wrong. He hears his dad’s being sent by the ‘”Fury” to live in “Out-With” and he fails to understand those names, which  sound straight from a fantasy novel as the true terms Fuhrer and Auschwitz. For the adult reader, the truth immediately sinks in. I’m not sure soon a younger reader would grasp the connection.

It’s especially haunting to experience this world through the eyes of a naive boy who focuses on his own lonliness and doesn’t realize the true horror in his new friend’s life on the other side of the fence.

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Crossed (Matched)

Crossed by Allie Condie picks up with the repercussion of Cassie’s rebellious act This sequel to the popular Matched left me slightly disappointed. I normally don’t list a review of a book that I would rank less than four to five stars. I just don’t. Here I loved the originally story so much and I still have high hopes for the conclusion. So I had to share a few thoughts.

Cassia lands in a work camp and finally in the dangerous Outer Provinces searching for her boyfriend Ky. The memory of her ex-fiance Xander shadows her. She’s peeking behind the curtain and learning more shocking discoveries about her Society and the rebels they fight. Sure the conflict and stakes continue to rise in this book, but I had the sinking feeling that this read more like the middle of a novel rather than a stand piece itself. Sagging middles is a syndrome authors fight to overcome the same way many of us battle that extra pound or two.

I’m still going to read the final novel in this trilogy and I have a feeling it will be well worth it. My advice is to wait and read the three novels in the Matched trilogy together, savor the first, race through the second and hopefully enjoy the third.

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A Cool Outcast

 How Not to Be Popular

How Not to Be Popular By Jennifer Ziegler introduces us to Maggie Dempsey, who has had to survive the  latest relocation of her ‘hippy-dippy’ parents. When she arrives in Austin, Maggie decides she won’t open herself up to the pain of losing another set of best friends. She’ll remain an invisible loner at high school until her parents decide to move on.

Here we see the common theme of teenager trying to fit in turned on a handstand. The more Maggie strives to become an outcast, the more attention she draws from her classmates who become intrigued rather than repelled by her odd behavior. She gains points for being authentic and brave while in reality she’s transforming into the biggest phony. Will Maggie morphs into a new flavor of mean girl by turning her back on the people who tried to help her, or risk true rejection by revealing her lies. The story pulls us along as she tries on new identities, makes mistakes and gradually learns it’s not in her nature to remain friendless.

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